The BMC lead ladder started on the 1st of December and I set 5 of the routes 7a - 8a. Steve Mayers had warned me not to set any sandbags so I was quite liberal with the holds. When Mark Reeves made light work of the 7b my suspicions grew and were later confirmed when Calum got up the 8a very quickly, I was gutted but had some satisfaction when the 8a spat Pete Robins off the last move. They've all had a grade knocked off them now.
As well as the BMC lead ladder climbs I set an 8b. I expect Emma Twyford will be throwing laps on this climb soon before going over to Malham early next year (if it dries out again) to finish off Unjustified, a route she was looking close on early last year. One thing I know for sure about the new beacon 8b is that Pete has no chance on it.
Facilities like the Beacon and Indy are crucial for keen climbers in Wales, especially as 2012 was the 3rd wettest year on record in Wales. Having had to leave my car half a km from my house the other day and wade through floods to get home gives some indication of the levels of rain we've been having. Work recently has consisted of trudging through bogs with maps, compasses and hoods up although myself and Dan Vajzovic did manage to get some climbs done on the Orme and the slate in the mornings before arriving at the Beacon due to downpours. The highlight was Dan seconding Pull My Daisy just before the rain, with Dan having only started climbing this year.
As part of the contracts for Plas Y Brenin you are expected to give a number of general interest talks in the evening. For the first year I did my talks on climate change, fresh from my environmental science course and slightly concerned that very few people believed human activity could affect the weather. The emphasis of the talk was on the IPCCs (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Report and their findings and also the Stern Report as a separate source with similar findings. I also had a small look at Nigel Lawson's 'Great Climate Swindle' which essentially involved him and 1 entomologist going against 99% of scientists saying climate change was caused by Solar Flares and it didn’t effect a certain type of insect. Interestingly a few days after Nigel’s show the Met office put graphs up on their website showing that solar flares couldn’t account for the warming.
After a year of depressing people I changed my general interest talks to showing exotic climbing destinations like Madagascar and Yosemite. The hypocrisy of my change has not been lost on me. The first talks implied it was morally unacceptable to waste energy willy nilly and the next talks were helping inspire people to blow their energy consumption sky high with international flights. If you are a climber who would like to become a true environmentalist I'd recommend becoming like one of Britain’s most low impact climbers, Chris Doyle who was born on the Orme and is looking unlikely to ever leave it other than for the odd trip to Dyserth down the road.
Being a 'low impact' climber and a climber keen on going on trips abroad are never likely to go hand in hand. If anyone knows how to reconcile the 2 without spending weeks on a yacht please get in touch.
The media seems to have put climate change on a back burner in recent years other than for random reports on 'leaks' that bare no relation to the full findings of the reports. The next few decades are likely to show how accurate the IPCCs predictions are going to be. I see wind farms and solar arrays as a very small price to pay for mitigating some of the effects of climate change and any way that energy consumption can be reduced and offset seems to be a worthwhile venture. There is nothing to lose by doing something although with a possible long flight this year and next I think I'll have to do more than most for it not to be 'business as usual'.